I'm sure all of you have been in a department store at some point in your lives. The department store has become an American staple known for its variety of goods at affordable prices. It's hard to think what our lives would be like without the modern conveniences that we always seem to take for granted.
Today, I would like to introduce you to the "father of the department store," John Wanamaker. While he is best known for Wanamaker's, the first department store, John Wanamaker was so much more than that.
What I'd rather tell you about John Wanamaker's life was his sense of duty as a U.S. citizen. His business acumen aside, Wanamaker was a philanthropist and public servant. His activities as a philanthropist included:
- President of the Young Men's Christian Association (for eight years)
- Board of Finance of the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition (member and helped raise the first $1 million needed to stage it)
- Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company (director)
- Presbyterian Hospital (Trustee, Fundraiser, built Children's Ward with his wife, and managed the University Hospital)
- Citizens Relief Committee (Chairman, helped people both foreign and domestic)
As a public servant, Wanamaker engaged himself in the following:
- Republican Party
- Committee to Elect General Benjamin Harrison to the Presidency
- Postmaster General (Appointed by President Harrison)
- Union League (Member)
- Republican National Conventions of 1912 and 1916 (Delegate)
There is a point to me showing you Mr. Wanamaker's achievements and accolades. It's to show you what a great person can do. It's to show you that capitalism isn't evil. It's to show you that we really don't need the government to help us, we need more people like John Wanamaker to stand up.
Where is today's John Wanamaker? Why isn't he or she more prevalent in society? Can you name anybody who resembles what Wanamaker so graciously displayed during his time here?
If we tax people like John Wanamaker to death, thus forcing them elsewhere, what happens then? What happens to that person's sense of duty to their country and fellow Americans? What happens to their philanthropic spirit?
What happens? It becomes nonexistent. People tend not to be as charitable when they are nickle-and-dimed.
The answer to the Obama administration's questions as to how we can help those without health care comes to down one word — taxes. More taxes stifle innovation. More taxes stifle growth. More taxes stifle philanthropy.
What was it that Rev. Boetcker said in his Ten Cannots? You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. And you cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid — don't tear down the John Wanamakers of today. If anything, help them do more in the way of serving the greater good. Give them more tax incentives. Cut taxes for their businesses. Help them help others.
This country was built on the backs of people like John Wanamaker. Don't steal their wallets while they're helping the needy. Instead, make it easier for them to continue what they're doing.